FIG Coping With Trade Show Crunch
By: Holly Haber
The Fashion Industry Gallery faces a challenge because its market is sandwiched between trade shows in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
FIG features a significant percentage of Los Angeles-based resources – more than the larger Dallas Market Center – that may incur higher shipping costs and logistics problems because the California show ends on Wednesday and FIG starts on Thursday. In addition, FIG ends Saturday and MAGIC begins Aug. 17 in Las Vegas.
“Our temporary show will be a little smaller than typical due to the overlapping markets, but… most of our regulars will still be showing in August,” said Shelli Mers, FIG director. “We are doing our best try to accommodate all the exhibitors as far as being able to get from one show to the next.”
FIG’s Shop temporary show will feature at least 31 vendors, including 12th Street by Cynthia Vincent, James Jeans and C&C California.
“It’s not convenient for any of us,” said Monica Barthelotti, who owns Aqua showrooms at FIG and Cooper Design Space in Los Angeles. “It’s a problem that some showrooms are not showing all lines, some are not coming at all. But buyers who come [to FIG] come consistently. Over 85 to 90 percent of my buyers said they were coming.”
Barthelotti said she has duplicate samples for most of her lines and will split the others and supplement with information packets.
“It’s not going to be fun, the crossover with L.A. and Dallas and then Vegas,” said Brian Sylvester, sales manager for the TSS Terry Sahagen Sales showroom in Dallas and Los Angeles. “This is the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this.”
However, some showrooms are unaffected by the overlap because the retain samples for road sales and trunk shows. They say business has picked up for immediate deliveries of fall goods.
Pam Martin, whose namesake FIG showroom represents Beth Bowley, Isabella Fiore, Central Park West and other lines, felt she might pick up extra business if some resources that are competitors don’t come to Dallas.
“I can see how companies want to… skip Dallas, but it’s a mistake because there’s business here,” Martin asserted. “Our economy is better than a lot of other areas… the business is out there.”
Samuel Bistrian of Dallas hopes to earn some of that business with his new Roma rain boots. For each pair he sells for $42 wholesale, he’ll ship a pair to a needy child in Romania, where he was born. Bistrian is showing the rubber boots in glossy and matte solids in FIG’s Shop show.
“Our plan is to supply 10,000 children with boots this winter,” said Bistrian, who described the thrill of receiving his first pair of hand-me-down boots at the age of six. “We want to help children who are suffering from cold weather.”
Another Texas resource, Henri Lou, based in Austin, is expanding its year-old jewelry company with the addition of leather and suede handbags in neutrals and vibrant colors, including electric blue, grass green and orange. They wholesale from $105 to $165 and are represented by Aire showroom.